*Disclaimer: Photos in this post are from the video camera – so excuse the quality!
Christmas dinner this year was a small family affair this year – just me, Roberto, my mom and the furry babies. Again I was looking for simplicity. Having just prepared the Feast of the Fishes the night before, I wasn’t feeling like spending hours in the kitchen, again, no matter how much I love cooking! But I did want something special and delicious. So I let my beloved Tagine do the work for me. We added a quick starter and easy side dish and called it dinner!
We started with a tortellini soup. This is something Roberto loves having every year around the winter holidays, because his Mamma used to make it every year this time of year. She uses beef broth in hers, but this year I used some more of my Thanksgiving turkey stock that was in the freezer. Basically I put 2 cups of stock and 1 cup of filtered water on the boil – and added a splash of white wine, some fresh thyme and salt and pepper. Once it came to a slow boil, I added a small package of tortellini. In about 3 minutes it was done. On top we grated some pecorino dolce, and called it the first course!
For the second course, on my mom’s suggestion, we prepared my Nana’s famous stuffed artichokes. You make a stuffing of fresh bread crumbs, Italian parsley, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and enough olive oil to make it come together. Season with salt and pepper. You then stuff the first several rows of outer leaves with the stuffing. Then place stuffed artichokes in a pan with about an inch of water and some fresh squeezed lemon juice. Bring to a boil, lower the temp, put the lid on, and let steam for about 45 minutes. I hadn’t had these in years, and they were so good! I really should make them more often.
For the main course, I wanted something festive, that wasn’t turkey, since we had just roasted one a few weeks ago, for Thanksgiving. I saw some lamb at the store – which is a rarity in these parts, so I picked up a few packages of chops (and some for stew, later). I marinated the lamb chops in a healthy drizzle olive oil, splash of red wine, fresh thyme, and a splash of balsamic. I wanted to serve the chops with our favorite vegetable side – roasted carrots and potatoes! So I chopped 5 potatoes and 6 carrots in large chunks, drizzled them with olive oil and placed them on the bottom of the tagine. I arranged the chops on top, poured the rest of the marinade on top and put on the lid. I placed the tagine in a 350 F oven and cooked it for 1 ½ hours. I didn’t even need to add any liquid. The meat came out falling off the bone.
For dessert it was leftover Pandoro from our trifle the night before. We had a nice and relaxing time – a delicious and festive meal without too much time in the kitchen!